Domestic Violence in Jefferson County – Turn a Misdemeanor into a Felony with Habitual Charges
Only with the new DUI law have I seen the government able to turn a misdemeanor case into a felony. A new Colorado law now adds another way to take this extreme step. It happens in a very common crime: those involving allegations of Jefferson County domestic violence. Now, a misdemeanor crime can turn into a class 5 felony, where you can face a sentencing range of 1-3 years in prison. Read more below to find out how this can happen.
Under a new Colorado law which is added to C.R.S. 18-6-801, prosecutors and district attorneys can now allege a class 5 felony against men and women if they have been charged with their fourth misdemeanor domestic violence case. The reason this is so crazy, is that unlike DUI cases, many domestic violence charges involve very small conduct. No one’s life is threatened. Take for example domestic violence pushing, domestic violence leaving a hateful message, domestic violence taking someone’s car keys, or domestic violence violating a protection order by calling someone on the phone. Our past blogs have emphasized that domestic violence is a sentence enhancer which is added to any normal crime. It is not a crime in itself. Read about 6 things to know before pleading guilty to a domestic violence crime.
Felony Domestic Violence for Misdemeanor Conduct in Arapahoe County, Colorado
Here is the text of this new Arapahoe County law, added to C.R.S. 18-6-801:
(7) (a) Any misdemeanor offense that includes an act of domestic violence is a class 5 felony if the defendant at the time of sentencing has been previously convicted of three or more prior offenses that included an act of domestic violence and that were separately brought and tried and arising out of separate criminal episodes.
(b) The prior convictions must be set forth in apt words in the indictment or information. For the purposes of this section, “conviction” includes any federal, state, or municipal conviction for a felony, misdemeanor, or municipal ordinance violation.
(c) Trials in cases alleging that the defendant is an habitual domestic violence offender pursuant to this subsection (7) must be conducted in accordance with the rules of criminal procedure for felonies. The trier of fact shall determine whether an offense charged includes an act of domestic violence.
(d) Following a conviction for an offense which underlying factual basis includes an act of domestic violence:
(I) If any prior conviction included a determination by a jury or was admitted by the defendant that the offense included an act of domestic violence, the court shall proceed to sentencing without further findings as to that prior conviction by the jury or by the court, if no jury trial is had;
(II) For any prior conviction in which the factual basis was found by the court to include an act of domestic violence, but did not include a finding of domestic violence by a jury or that was not admitted by the defendant, the trial court shall proceed to a sentencing stage of the proceedings. The prosecution shall present evidence to the trier of fact that the prior conviction included an act of domestic violence. The prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
(III) At the sentencing stage, the following applies:
(A) A finding of domestic violence made by a court at the time of the prior conviction constitutes prima facie evidence that the crime involved domestic violence;
(B) Evidence of the prior conviction is admissible through the use of certified documents under seal, or the court may take judicial notice of a prior conviction;
(C) Evidence admitted in the guilt stage of the trial, including testimony of the defendant and other acts admitted pursuant to section 18-6-801.5, may be considered by the finder of fact.
Protect Yourself from Domestic Violence False Allegations in Adams County and Avoid a Felony
It is now more important than ever before that you get an experienced domestic violence attorney at your side in every Adams County misdemeanor charge. Why? Because you can be charged with a felony and end up in prison for misdemeanor conduct. Prison time in the Colorado Department of Corrections is a heavy penalty and sentence to pay for taking your ex’s keys or calling her repeatedly.
Douglas County Domestic Violence Felony Charges Can Now be a DA Threat
Colorado lawmakers have again made a law which is so broad it is ridiculous. Men and women can go to prison for something very little, just because they had three prior Douglas County misdemeanor domestic violence cases. Since this law can be abused by district attorneys, you need one of our attorneys at your side. A district attorney may threaten to file Habitual domestic violence criminal charges to force you to plead guilty – regardless of the strength of your new case – when you have multiple prior misdemeanor DV convictions. This can be a dangerous risk for any defendant. So dangerous, that pleading guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge is a better option than trial – even if a person is innocent.
Remain silent and never speak with police. Then, call us at 303-731-0719, so we can meet and talk about your criminal case. Together, we can protect your future.
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